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Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy share first-round lead at U.S. Open

JOHN DAVID MERCER/USA TODAY SPORTS
                                Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the first fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.
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JOHN DAVID MERCER/USA TODAY SPORTS

Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the first fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.

KATIE GOODALE/USA TODAY SPORTS
                                Rory McIlroy reacts after a missed putt on the second green during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.
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KATIE GOODALE/USA TODAY SPORTS

Rory McIlroy reacts after a missed putt on the second green during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.

JOHN DAVID MERCER/USA TODAY SPORTS
                                Patrick Cantlay plays his shot from the first fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.
KATIE GOODALE/USA TODAY SPORTS
                                Rory McIlroy reacts after a missed putt on the second green during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.

Patrick Cantlay racked up six birdies and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy played a bogey-free round on their ways to 5-under-par 65s to share the lead through the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday in Pinehurst, N.C.

Cantlay established the lead early in the day, and McIlroy, the 2011 champion, had birdies on two of the final three holes playing in the afternoon.

Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg shot 66 to hold third place.

France’s Matthieu Pavon had a pair of eagles during the first 10 holes. He ended up shooting 67, a mark later matched by 2020 champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Tony Finau, Akshay Bhatia from nearby Raleigh and England’s Tyrrell Hatton shot 68s to share sixth place.

Golfers had to negotiate the tricky greens on Pinehurst No. 2 along with the increasing heat of the day.

Cantlay began the round on No. 10. He got better later in the round, with four birdies on the first eight holes on the front side.

“Feeling good about my game,” Cantlay said. “I’ve been working hard. I have to just keep putting myself in the fairway, giving myself opportunities and I did a good job of that.”

This is the first time Cantlay has led or co-led in a major.

Pavon became the first golfer to ever record multiple eagles in the same U.S. Open round at Pinehurst. His first breakthrough came with an eagle on No. 5 and later on No. 10 — the course’s two par-5 holes — where he rolled in putts of 18 feet and 27 feet. He reached 5 under before his first bogey on the par-4 11th.

After the second eagle, Pavon played the final eight holes in 2 over.

It was a rough day for Tiger Woods, who shot 74 with two birdies — both on the par-5 holes — and six bogeys.

Woods, who began the round on the back nine, birdied his first hole. But a seven-hole stretch with five bogeys sent him tumbling down the standings.

“I didn’t hit my irons particularly well,” Woods said. “… But I drove it on a string all day. Unfortunately, I just didn’t capitalize on it.”

Woods, a three-time U.S. Open champion who received a special exemption for entry to the tournament, added that he was off on the speed of his putts.

“If I clean that up and I hit a couple of iron shots not as loose as I did, I’m right there at even par,” he said.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who won the last time the U.S. Open was contested in Pinehurst in 2014, ended up with 70. He was 2 under through 13 holes before a couple of bogeys.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler had a mundane 71. Defending champion Wyndham Clark managed just one birdie during his round of 73.

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